Matthew Campling is a London based, established playwright and director who has built a successful career, including Expert columns and appearances on TV and Radio as a trained psychotherapist.
His latest play, The English Heart, follows married couple Marie (Anya Williams) and Jake (Jake Williams) who (to some extent without realising) are simply existing and “keeping up appearances” in their small, judgmental home town. It is only when Andre (Andrew Jardine) moves in next door that the couple are reinvigorated – the only problem is the new-found spark is not with each other.
The plot is believable and the actors are utterly convincing. The series of events are a perfect mix of naughtiness and general comedy which makes for a thoroughly entertaining play. It’s also a very intelligent exploration of the inner workings of relationships and the affects that attitudes can have upon others, along with the ever present pressure to stick to the status quo.
The actors are excellent. It is difficult not to imagine all three in many more productions in the near future.
Set over the Brexit period and prior to the most recent general election – the play has many (very agreeable) political references throughout but this is perhaps the only thing that doesn’t seem to naturally flow throughout. The subject feels a little forced and irrelevant in what otherwise is a slick, fast moving and interesting play that is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.
The English Heart is Matthew Campling’s 9th produced play and the second production for CamplingHicks Productions. Whilst this production has now come to an end – you can catch their next production, The Secondary Victim, at Park90 (14th November – 9th December 2017).